TeeJaw Blog

Next GOP Move In Debt Ceiling Negotiation To Be “Cut, Cap and Balance” Legislation?

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Saturday, July 16, 2011, 12: 07 PM

It is reported that the next head-banging self-flagellation move by the GOP in the debt ceiling standoff with Obama will be to pass “cut, cap, and balance” legislation. Under this scheme Congress would agree to increase the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion (the amount requested by President Obama to get him through the 2012 election), but only if a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution were approved by two-thirds majorities in both houses and sent to the states for ratification.

There is slight problem with this plan. The balanced budget Constitutional amendment is an illusory promise. It is a false promise. Even if it were to be ratified it wouldn’t stop the government from over spending. It would just require the government to take in as mush as it spends. In other words, the balanced budget amendment would become a Constitutional mandate for tax increases. This is calling Obama’s bluff? It’s more like presenting him with a gift. That gift will keep on giving in 2012 with his re-election assured, courtesy of the GOP. And here’s the real kicker. For reasons explained below, the Balanced Budget Amendment, even if approved by 2/3 of both Houses of Congress, has no chance of being ratified by the required 3/4 of the states. Even though it will likely never be ratified, it will still do its work for Obama and against the GOP because it will appear that Obama won and the GOP lost. That will rally Obama’s base and just enough independents to put him over the top on November 6, 2012. This result will be helped along by all the angry conservatives and Tea Party independents who either stay home or write in Elmer Fudd’s name rather than vote for any Republican.

Now, how can we be so sure the amendment will not be ratified by 3/4 of the states? This is easy. After adoption by 2/3 of Congress the amendment will be sent to the 50 state legislatures. It will be ratified when 37 38 of those state legislatures vote to approve it. How likely is that? It will be defeated if only 14 13 states fail to approve it. Let’s see, as of now and until the next election in 2012, 15 state legislatures are solidly in the control of Democrats. Another 8 states are split with one of their two houses controlled by Democrats, one is supposedly non-partisan (Nebraska), and 26 states have Republicans in control of both houses of their legislature. The Governors don’t vote on ratification, it is solely in the hands of the legislature. In bicameral states, both houses have to approve it.

So, with a total of 15 states completely under the control of Democrats, and another 8 in partial control of Democrats, does anyone think it will be difficult to find 14 13 states that will gladly fail to ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment?

It’s an old cliche that America has two political parties, a dangerous one and a stupid one. Passing “Cut, Cap and Balance” and believing that it will be a win for the GOP is too clever by half. It’s not merely daft; it’s insane.

There is a way for the GOP to win this fight. It’s a sure thing because they hold all the cards right now. Obama cannot keep up his spending binge unless the GOP lets him. They control the United States House of Representatives, the people’s House, and ever since Magna Carta was signed by King John at Runnymede in 1215 (also enshrined in Article 1 Section 7 of the United States Constitution) that’s where all government spending legislation must first be approved before it can take place. All they have to do is keep saying NO until victory is achieved. It won’t take much longer. This course has the added benefit of being the right thing to do morally, and it’s the politically smart thing to do as well.

I guess it’s a novel idea for the GOP. But they should try it, for once. After all, if it doesn’t work they can always go back to being the stupid party.

PostScript: Cut, Cap and Balance supposedly also will include spending caps. That’s been tried before and has never been effective. Another false promise.

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